To begin, what type of psalm are we looking at here? It’s a lament psalm. And in fact this is the last lament psalm I plan to cover for a while. So, as we move on to some other type of psalm next time – I want to gauge how well you can identify this kind of psalm. How do you know if a psalm is a lament psalm?
Well, what’s another name for a lament psalm? We can call them “complain psalms”. Why is that? It’s because the author of the psalm – the poet – is complaining about something in the psalm.
Not all psalms have complaints in them. I know it’s hard to believe that – since about 1/3 of the Psalter is lament psalms. But really, there are other kinds. Like praise psalms, nature psalms, worship psalms, etc.
So, really, the first question you need to ask yourself when you come across a psalm – if you really want to try to understand it better – is this: “is the psalmist complaining about something or someone?”
We’ve seen the psalmist complain about his adversaries increasing. He’s complained about a drought and the faithless reaction that some Israelites were having to that test of faith from the Lord. He’s complained of evil men slandering him. He’s even subtly – or not so subtly – complained that God seems to be aloof or asleep and in need of being roused!
So, what’s the first thing to note about a psalm when you start reading it? “Is there a complaint?” If there isn’t, then you simply have to wait until our next lesson when we start studying the next sub-genre of psalm. Or you can just read it and ask the Lord to illumine the message to you. That’s a better idea, actually.
And let’s just ask ourselves whether there’s a complaint in the psalm we’re looking at today – Psalm 10. Is David complaining about something?
Yes. I mean, from the very first line we have the psalmist complaining that God seems so aloof in times of trouble. And as we keep reading we see his lengthy complaint about wicked men and such. So, yes, in Psalm 10 we see a complaint. Therefore it’s a lament psalm. The psalmist is lamenting something here.